Archive for Thursday, June 17, 2010

KU fight song lyrics need some tweaking now that Nebraska and Colorado are leaving the Big 12

Nebraska, Colorado references no longer make sense after Big 12 realignment

Members of the Kansas University basketball band get wild as they perform the Rock Chalk Chant prior to tipoff against Nebraska in this file photo. With the departure of the 'Huskers and Colorado, KU may have to change up the wording in its fight song.

Members of the Kansas University basketball band get wild as they perform the Rock Chalk Chant prior to tipoff against Nebraska in this file photo. With the departure of the 'Huskers and Colorado, KU may have to change up the wording in its fight song.

June 17, 2010


George “Dumpy” Bowles, we need you, man.

On the street

With Nebraska and Colorado leaving the Big 12, should we change the lyrics to the Jayhawk fight song?

Yeah, they should change it. … It won’t be as big because they’re not in the conference anymore.

More responses

Bowles, from the Kansas University class of 1912, is credited with writing “I’m a Jayhawk,” that oldie but goodie fight song that has rung in the ears of Jayhawk fans everywhere.

Dumpy, get out your pen.

KU fight song hurt by realignment

The two schools that left the Big 12 Conference were both part of KU's fight song. With their departure, it's unclear if the lyrics will be changed to reflect the reconfiguration. Enlarge video

The version of the song that is sung today has references to both the Buffs and the Cornhuskers (twice). That soon may become a bit like bringing up your ex-wife at Thanksgiving.

With the rearranging of the Big 12, a rewrite for the KU fight song may be on the way.

“It sure sounds like something we ought to do,” said Thomas Stidham, KU’s associate director of bands. “I’m sure we can get some suggestions — and some of them we probably couldn’t use.”

But why should that stop anybody?

Contest coming

For those of you who don’t already have the tune stuck in your head, here’s a reminder of what we need to erase. The first verse — which often is not sung these days — includes a line that goes “Talk about the Sooners, the Cowboys and the Buffs.”

Yeah, talk about them.

Then later in the first verse: “Talk about the Wildcats and those Cornhuskin’ boys.” In the more popular chorus, your fine Saturday afternoon tenors sing: “Got a bill that’s big enough to twist the Tiger’s tail. Husk some corn and listen to the Cornhusker’s wail.”

One Journal-World reader suggested the Cornhusker reference may not be too difficult to change.

“Husked some corn and made those sorry Cornhuskers bail,” Steve Allison of Temple Terrace, Fla., wrote to the Journal-World.

KU leaders might get some of those types of suggestions and more. Jennifer Sanner, a senior vice president at the KU Alumni Association, said the group is planning to have a student contest to come up with new lyrics as part of the Homecoming celebration in October.

It won’t be the first time the song has been changed. In 1958 the song was tweaked to match members of the Big 8. And a 1920 version of the song lists the Aggies (presumably Oklahoma A&M; before the school became Oklahoma State) and the braves, which some have speculated could be a reference to Haskell Indian Nations University.

“We think it is important for the students to be involved,” Sanner said. “This is something we pass down as Jayhawks. This will add a nuance to the history going forward.”

All hail the ’Horns?

But there will be decisions to make. For example, is now the time to add the Texas schools? KU had the opportunity in 1996 when the Big 12 began, but did not. Now, knowing what we know, maybe we should.

Perhaps — and let’s be clear here, the following did not come from the Alumni Association or Stidham — this might be an appropriate verse: “All hail the ’Horns. All hail the ’Horns. Without big Tex, we surely wouldn’t get this huge check. All hail the ’Horns.”

What? Doesn’t quite strike the right chord. Maybe it could be the official Big 12 song.

Then there’s the decision of whether to leave in some schools even if they aren’t part of the conference anymore. Colorado might win some votes with this one: “To lose the Buffs is so tuff. In some ways, they were the best, for they gave us Allen Fieldhouse West.”

And, although you could never lose the part about twisting the Tiger’s tail, maybe Missouri should get a little more mention in the song. After all, to hear Nebraska’s president speak, we have the Tigers to thank for all this. So, consider: “Pity old Mizzou. They thought they didn’t get their due. Were gonna leave us for the Big Ten. Then were told ‘little ones, back to your den.’”

Oh, never mind. I forgot, the healing already has begun.

Actually, none of this may be too hard. Here’s a serious version, or at least as serious as a fight song gets:

Talk about the Sooners, the Cowboys and the Horns.

Talk about the Tiger and his tail.

Talk about the Wildcats, and those Cyclone boys.

But I’m the Bird to make ’em weep and wail.

’Cause I’m a Jay, Jay, Jay, Jay, Jayhawk up at Lawrence on the Kaw.

’Cause I’m a Jay, Jay Jay, Jay, Jayhawk with a sis-boom, hip hoorah.

Got a bill that’s big enough to twist a Tiger’s tail.

Hook some Horns and listen to those Texans wail.

’Cause I’m a Jay, Jay, Jay, Jay Jayhawk, riding on a Kansas gale.

There you go. Move over, Dumpy.


LJ Whirled 6 years ago

Do they even use this song anymore? I remember playing it in marching band a few (okay, more than a few) years ago, but I don't remember hearing it for a very long time.

autie 6 years ago

sarcasm or what the hell are yu smokin dude?

autie 6 years ago

In fact, at my sister's house, they play the final four rap song, the alma mater and this one...every night before they go to bed.

riverdrifter 6 years ago

Suspect this turkey is a Misserian, Autie. He ain't of the local persuasion, methinks. Probably doesn't like Ad Astra. BTW, you got it in the bottle down there yet?

Reid Hollander 6 years ago

It is played every pregame for every sport that has a pep band present and numerous times during the game.

kitnkat 6 years ago

You hear it all the time. It's just that no one knows the words. Though they have been printed in most KU books I've bought my nephews & nieces. But no one actually sings the words.

Majestic42 6 years ago

My grandpa, who went to KU back in the 40s, knows every word. He sang it last Christmas, and it was the highlight of the dinner. Nothing like an 80-year-old Jayhawk getting riled up.

sourpuss 6 years ago

I attended KU in the 90s and -I- know and sing every single word. How could someone who actually went to KU not know the words? That's.... well, I'd question that person's Jayhawk credentials!

mfagan 6 years ago

Nice work, Chad. My only suggestion would be to add one word to your last line: "Hook some Horns and listen to ALL those Texans wail." I think that might make it even more clear that all the Texas schools are involved -- with UT leading the way (that much already is abundantly clear, of course...)

Andrew Juby 6 years ago

Good call. If you try to sing those words along with the tune, you'll find that line is missing a syllable. I was going to go with something lame like "those dumb Texans", but that works better.

anon1958 6 years ago

What you really need is a song that acknowledges that you are members of the Big Texas conference. Some verses referencing coat tails and Texas television sets would be appropriate.

riverdrifter 6 years ago

Oh, shut up. We'll show you some Texas come basketball season. Sheeiit.

Will Babbit 6 years ago

Bitter much? At least we don't have to write one about being a mid-major school...

billbodiggens 6 years ago

Junk the old one and adopt Pink Floyd's "Money."

John Brown 6 years ago

What ever happened to "Eat $&^, Eat $^% KSU!

BruceWayne 6 years ago

the new song will be whatever Texas tells us it is.

riverdrifter 6 years ago

Like hell. Lick sassafrass root, Texas.

tyson travis 6 years ago

I think your original words are slightly in error. As Pantoozo cites them (his version is closest to the one I remember,) there's no reference to Iowa State at all, and there still isn't. I think they originally went: "Talk about the Sooners and the AGGIES and the Buffs, talk about the Tiger and his tail, talk about the 'Huskers, those old corn-huskin' boys, but I'm a bird to make 'em weep and wail...for I'm a Jay, Jay, Jay...etc" Take out the double NU reference and work in Cyclones and Longhorns someplace. Aggies will work triple-duty for KSU and OSU and Texas A & M.. Wasn't this song originally written in the old Big-7 days before they let Oklahoma A+ M in in 1960? If you want a song for nine other conference members, you're going to have to work in Baylor as well. Got some ideas I'll work on.

Shardwurm 6 years ago

"How 'bout those ticket sales? Talk about a beatin' get our football and basketball teams together! Wish I could afford school, But my tuition makes my parents weep and wail, For I'm a Jay, Jay, Jayhawk!"

There's my entry.

Danimal 6 years ago

I will NEVER, EVER recognize the elimination of NU from "I'm a Jayhawk." KU and Nebraska have been playing forever, and in all likelihood despite the conference realignment will continue to play one another in football. I hate CU, I'm glad they left the conference. I think we should substitute "horns" for "buffs" and call it good.

StirrrThePot 6 years ago

“It sure sounds like something we ought to do,” said Thomas Stidham, KU’s associate director of bands. “I’m sure we can get some suggestions — and some of them we probably couldn’t use.”

LOL Tom Stidham, keepin' it real!

Rae Hudspeth 6 years ago

"sis boom"

Seriously? needs more than a little updating, I'd say.

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